I waited years to find The Perfect Lamps (TPLs). Literally, years.
TPLs would help make my Pinterest-inspired bedroom dream a reality. They would be not too small and not too large; they would look classy and elegant without the accompanying high price tag; they would be perfectly cohesive with everything else I already had.
These lamps proved to be hard to find. Until one magical day when my toddler decided to stay-seated-in-the-Target-cart-for-more-than-30-seconds-so-I-could-actually-look-at-something-on-a-display, I saw them. The Perfect Lamps (and shades to match!):
I think about how much I love TPLs almost every time I walk by them. But guess what: this feeling will fade. I will become accustomed to TPLs; perhaps even someday I will find lamps that are even more perfect and these will take their place.
So why all the talk about lamps? I promise I’m not obsessed with them. But, like the lamps, there’s stuff we search for, for months or even years:
The perfect wardrobe, the Instagram account or blog with thousands of followers, the glamourous car, the approval of those around us, recognition by those we deem important, the job that will bring in the money we’ve always dreamed of….
….and we think that these things will bring us what we truly want: joy, contentment, life.
But the “oooh” factor fades. Over time, these things really don’t make us happier, more peaceful, or more content. There’s always a more perfect wardrobe, a bigger number of followers to reach, a more glamorous car, a bigger amount of money to accumulate.
This constant striving for more isn’t new. We’ve fallen victim to it since the beginning.
In Luke 12, two brothers are squabbling over an inheritance and ask Jesus to settle it. Instead of telling one of them what to do, He speaks to the heart of their issue:
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15b)
[Greed has been defined as an “intense” or “excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed.” It could also be defined as “covetousness”.]
Jesus goes on to say much more about the wastefulness of accumulating without giving back to God (v. 16-21), why we shouldn’t be worried about what we eat or wear (v. 22-31), and how we should rethink what are priorities are (v. 32-34).
But something in this introductory verse to all of these things sticks out:
“all kinds of greed.”
This little word “all” makes me think. See, it’s easy to recognize obvious greed: ruthlessly using others for selfish gain, corrupt governments using their power for evil, taking up 4 parking spots at the grocery store just because you can.
But what about the less obvious? What about the subtle greed [or covetousness] that sneaks in, almost unnoticed, in the form of striving for things that are never enough and that never truly satisfy? The type that warps our priorities and clouds our judgment? The type that says, “if I only had _________, my life would be perfect?”
This type can be just as dangerous. It’s this type that, at the very least, can lead to regret later on over time and opportunties wasted. But at its worst, it can ruin people and relationships.
So what’s your “lamp”? Is what you’re striving for to make your life “perfect” really worth it?